Why don't we consider all nucleophilic substitution reactions as electrophilic reactions and vice versa?

For example, look at this reaction I found in my textbook. (See picture)

Reaction forming chloropicrin

This is an electrophilic substitution if we consider the H+ to be replaced by NO2+.

But if we look at it as the OH- ion being replaced by a CCl3- ion, then it can also be a nucleophilic substitution reaction! I'm so confused!

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It depends on if it is initiated by a attack from an electophile or a nucleophile. $\endgroup$ – Eagle Apr 6 '19 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ It seems to me that your textbook failed here. That isn't a simple substitution. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Apr 6 '19 at 23:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Akari how do we deduce which attacks first? $\endgroup$ – Rushil Desai Apr 7 '19 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ See the mechanism of the concerned reaction $\endgroup$ – Eagle Apr 7 '19 at 7:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Akari Well the mechanisms exactly what I'm looking for. Can't find it anywhere $\endgroup$ – Rushil Desai Apr 7 '19 at 8:00

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